1. Main facts and figures
- overall in 2016/17, there were 762,380 entrants for whom ethnicity was known at UK higher education providers – 76.6% were White, 10.4% were from Asian backgrounds, 7.7% were Black, 3.8% had Mixed ethnicity, and 1.6% were from the Other ethnic group
- when higher education providers were divided into 3 roughly equal groups according to the number of UCAS points achieved by entrants (referred to here as ‘high’, ‘medium’ and ‘low’ entry tariffs), this data shows that 80.5% of entrants at ‘high’ tariff providers were White and 4.1% were Black
- 48.5% of Black entrants went to low tariff providers, while 26.1% of White entrants did so
The ethnic categories used in this data
The Higher Education Statistics Agency collects 11 detailed categories of ethnicity.
The ethnic category groups included in the White group differ between England and Wales, and Scotland and Northern Ireland. To present data for the whole of the UK, the statistics here have been aggregated into the 5 broad categories used in the 2011 Census (for the years from 2012/13 onwards)
The broad ethnic groups are:
- Asian or Asian British
- Black or Black British
The White ethnic group includes:
- White Scottish (used by Scottish higher education providers)
- Irish Traveller (used by Northern Irish higher education providers), Gypsy or Traveller
- other White background (used by Scottish higher education providers)
HESA also collects data of students whose ethnicity is categorised as unknown or not applicable. This includes students:
- who did not live in the UK before starting their course
- whose place of residence before starting their course is unknown (2014/15 only)
- who refused to give ethnic information
2. By ethnicity
|Ethnicity||%||Number of entrants||%||Number of entrants||%||Number of entrants||%||Number of entrants||%||Number of entrants|
3. By tariff level of provider
|Ethnicity||%||Number of entrants||%||Number of entrants||%||Number of entrants||%||Number of entrants|
Higher education providers were grouped according to their range of courses and the average tariff scores of their undergraduate students. A provider’s entry tariff is the average UCAS points score entrants achieved from A levels or equivalent.
‘Specialist’ higher education providers were defined as those that offer 60% or more of their courses in one or two subjects (based on full-time equivalence and academic cost centres).
The remaining providers were grouped into 3 similar-sized groups according to the average entry tariff scores of their entrants, these being high, medium or low. The tariff score data was based on the average tariff scores of undergraduate entrants aged 21 and under in the HESA student record.
These statistics have been prepared from the Higher Education Statistics Agency’s (HESA) student record.
Ethnicity of the student is recorded on the basis of their own self-assessment. In the case of full-time undergraduates, the information is captured as part of the admissions process through UCAS. For other student groups the information is captured directly by the higher education provider.
Student numbers are rounded to the nearest 5 students. Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.
Further technical information
5. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Higher Education Statistics Agency
Purpose of data source
The Higher Education Statistics Agency has been collecting student information (known as the ‘student record’) since 1994/95.
The data it contains is used extensively by various stakeholders for higher education:
- performance indicators
- publications (including UNISTATS)
- league tables
The student record collects individual data about students including:
- the student’s entry profile and personal characteristics
- module and course-level data
- funding information
- qualifications awarded
6. Download the data
This file contains the following variables: First year entrants to HE institutions by tariff, Ethnic group, Ethnicity_type, Academic year, Tariff marker, count, Value, Value_note